Oil explorer Serica Energy shook off its market minnow status on Thursday after doubling its valuation in one stroke on readmittance to London’s junior market as investors backed its ambitious £300m swoop for three of BP’s North Sea fields.
Serica has been eyeing up a deal for the oil major’s mature assets off the Scottish coast for months but only secured the game-changing deal last week, boosting its valuation by just over £100m in one day.
As the assets, which will increase Serica’s portfolio by sixteen times, are worth more than the company itself, its shares were suspended until the firm submitted an admission document for investors to inspect.
On readmittance on Thursday shares skyrocketed 39.1p, or 142pc, to 66.8p, boosting its market cap from £73m to £176m. The move comes amid a revival in the North Sea oil industry and a spurt of deal-making in the basin with Serica looking to use it as a launch pad for a future spending spree.
Elsewhere, On the Beach brushed aside a £2m hit from the collapse of Monarch Airlines to wow investors with its earnings. The online travel firm saw pre-tax profit climb 24.9pc despite the one-off cost from helping customers book alternative travel and providing refunds on the Monarch flights it sold.
Telecommunications giant BT gained 5.4p to 260.8p after Barclays lifted hopes that BAE Systems’ cheaper-than-expected pensions resolution indicated hopes for an improvement on its own £14bn pensions black hole.
Still reeling from its failed takeover attempt of FTSE 250 peer Spire and losing its FTSE 100 badge of honour, hospital operator Mediclinic topped the blue-chip index, climbing 25.5p to 565.5p, after Jefferies gave it a double upgrade to “buy”, citing a potential turnaround in its UAE business.
Oil producer EnQuest nudged up 2p to 27.5p after confirming that the development of its crucial Kraken oilfield is on track. Meanwhile on currency markets, the pound continued to climb on a fresh batch of Brexit optimism as reports surfaced that an agreement was close between the UK and EU over the Irish border dispute, pushing it above $1.35 against the dollar. Sterling was also given a lift against the greenback by reports that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was weeks away from facing the chop.
The FTSE 100 reversed early losses to touch into positive territory before sterling cranked up the pressure on its biggest exporters, dragging the index down to a 66.89-point retreat to 7,326.67.